Eagle-eyed CCTV operator leads police to drugs factory in Mansfield
An eagle-eyed CCTV operator led police to an illegal drugs factory after spotting a suspicious vehicle in Mansfield.
The operator spotted a group of men loading what they believed to be cannabis plants from the back of a van on Stockwell Gate in the town shortly before 10am on Wednesday (April 14).
Police were called and the van was tracked on camera as it drove away from the scene.
As it pulled up at a set of red lights, officers approached the van – which was immediately driven away at speed.
One suspect was later arrested on Albert Street and the van was later found abandoned on St Peter’s Retail Park.
Officers say a significant quantity of cannabis plants were found in the back of the vehicle.
A later search of a disused public house on Stockwell Gate uncovered a around 700 young cannabis plants and an array of specialist growing equipment.
Police say had they been allowed to grow to maturity the plants could have had a value in excess of £400,000. They have now been taken away and destroyed.
Islam Vata, 24, has been charged with being concerned in the supply of a class B drug, being concerned in the production of a class B drug, and possessing a class B drug with intent to supply.
He appeared at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on Friday morning and was remanded to appear at Nottingham Crown Court on May 14.
Police say investigations are ongoing and have hailed the actions of the operator.
Sgtt Ian Holmes, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “This was a great bit of teamwork by a very alert CCTV operator and police officers on the ground.
"As it turned out the operator’s suspicions were well-founded and their actions led to the discovery of a significant quantity of drugs.
"This kind of large-scale cannabis cultivation is a blight on our communities and is often linked to more serious offences such as serious acts of violence.
"We will not tolerate people setting up these illegal drug factories and will continue with our efforts to disrupt their activities.”
Anyone who has have any suspicions about drug-related crime should contact police on 101.